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Penna Powers took home some serious hardware at the 30th annual Golden Spike Awards Gala on Nov. 16. We earned six Golden Spike awards and one finalist award at the 2017 Golden Spikes in categories ranging from research for governments/non-profits to community relations.

2017 Golden Spikes

Golden Spike Awards

Harmons Grocery Local Print Ads

Category: Print display advertising
Harmons Grocery has been operating in Utah since 1932. What started out as a farmstand has blossomed into a progressive chain of grocery stores committed to quality food, unsurpassed service and community wellbeing. Supporting local vendors has always been at the forefront of Harmons mission, in fact, Harmons has been an integral cog in helping many local businesses get started. Over 2,300 products sold in Harmons are local items. With this in mind, Harmons asked Penna Powers to develop print ads with an emphasis on local. The ads featuring local products and produce were placed in various local Utah publications reaching more than 250,000 in readers.


UCAIR & Penna Powers: Show Them UCAIR

Category: Community relations
UCAIR and Penna Powers have conducted fully-integrated educational campaigns for the past several winters, when Utah’s air quality suffers most. Research in early 2016 showed that Utahns are concerned about air quality, but many believe air quality challenges are beyond their control. However, research participants activated around the issue when presented with the health impacts poor air can have on those they love. Building on this insight, UCAIR and Penna Powers created the “Kidult” campaign, inviting Utahns to “Show Them UCAIR” by changing behaviors to reduce emissions.


UDOT & Penna Powers: UDOT 1-15 Tech Corridor

Category: External audience videos
Utah County is growing rapidly, resulting in commute-time traffic jams. The Utah Department of Transportation planned to expand I-15, but funding wouldn’t arrive until 2020. In 2017, the State Legislature approved a bond to accelerate construction.
A public awareness survey showed that only 24 percent of locals knew a project was coming. UDOT developed a video to educate stakeholders on the project and announce the accelerated timeline. The video link was emailed to government and business leaders and promoted on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to area residents and commuters.


UDOT & Penna Powers: UDOT TravelWise

Category: Research for government/non-profits
In order to establish a baseline around the TravelWise Program, UDOT conducted a general public telephone survey of Wasatch Front residents through Lighthouse Research & Development, Inc. The research included a total of 810 interviews. It was the first time that research of this scale had been done on the TravelWise campaign. It substantiated our belief that the campaign is necessary, surprised us in the level of program awareness, and provided actionable insights that are currently being pursued by the team.


IDOT & Penna Powers: Iowa Zero Fatalities “Impaired Sports”

Category: Social media for government/non-profits

With 32 percent of all traffic fatalities caused by alcohol related crashes, Zero Fatalities Iowa identified a need to address impaired driving with residents. In an effort to reduce fatalities, Iowa Zero Fatalities implemented a social awareness campaign during NFL and NCAA sporting seasons targeting men ages 18-49. Event targeting reminded spectators to get a sober ride home after the game. The campaign successfully, reached 59.8 percent of the target audience and helped lift overall Zero Fatalities awareness by two percentage points.


UCAIR & Penna Powers: UCAIR Illustrated Inversion Education Video

Category: Photography and illustration
The Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) is a non-profit dedicated to clean air. UCAIR and Penna Powers have conducted fully-integrated educational campaigns for the past several winters, when Utah’s air quality suffers most. Part of the challenge of getting Utahns to engage around air quality is overcoming their general low awareness that what they do does, in fact, make a difference in pollution levels. Many believe nothing can be done about Utah’s poor winter air episodes due to the meteorology and geography of the local airshed. During the 2016-17 winter campaign, we produced an illustrated educational video to attack this issue head-on.


Gold Spike Finalist Award

UDOT & Penna Powers: Zero Fatalities

Category: Community relations
To reduce traffic-related deaths between Memorial and Labor Day, Zero Fatalities implemented a multifaceted campaign called the “100 Deadliest Days.” As titled, the campaign focused on educating Utahns about (1) the 100 DD of summer when roadway deaths nearly double in Utah and (2) how to best prevent a traffic-related tragedy during the summer. Not only has the campaign performed exceptionally well in reach, frequency and engagement – As of August 23, there have been 12 less roadway related deaths this summer when compared to this same time last year.


The Golden Spike Awards measure effectiveness regarding research, planning, execution, evaluation and project content. A Golden Spike Finalist is awarded to entries that earn at least 80 out of 100 points; the highest scoring entry earns a Golden Spike. The annual competition is sponsored by the Utah Chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicator and the Utah Society for Healthcare Communication and Marketing.

Additionally, President and Managing Partner Dave Smith, APR received the Professional of the Year award.

Thank you to our clients for your continued partnership. While we are proud to produce award-winning campaigns, what matters the most is driving meaningful change together.

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Utah has a serious problem with fatalities on its roadways year-round. However, during the summer months fatal crashes nearly double. In order to create awareness for the Zero Fatalities’ 100 Deadliest Days campaign, we knew we had to capture attention on social media.

Using Facebook’s auto-play feature, our creative team designed several 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs to get people to stop scrolling through their social feeds. The isolated motion within the cinemagraphs is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also unique enough to capture attention among various Facebook advertisements. This offers a unique experience from other social ads.

The 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs were used across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Some cinemagraphs featured major holidays or were used in a collection of statistics comparing your odds of dying in an unbuckled car crash to other events.

In order to highlight their full beauty on Instagram, we broke apart the images into smaller thumbnails that were accessible on the Zero Fatalities profile. Clicking on the center image would then deliver you to the full cinemagraph.

Check out our favorite 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs used for the Zero Fatalities campaign below.

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Whether you were cheering for the Falcons or the Patriots in the Super Bowl, no doubt you also paid attention to the ads. They often end up being more entertaining than the game. And if you watched in Utah and were paying attention to the ads, right before the start of the 4th quarter, you may have seen the winner of the Zero Fatalities video contest proudly introducing his safety message to Utah audiences.

When it comes to creating a Super Bowl ad, handing over the reigns isn’t usually a good tactic – well unless you’re Doritos and can offer over $1M as a cash prize and the National Super Bowl airtime.

But unlike Doritos, Zero Fatalities wasn’t focused on receiving a professional quality ad with their “Zero Bowl Teen Video Contest.” Instead, the focus was on the process the contest provided. By providing the Super Bowl ad as the trophy, Zero Fatalities motivated teens to talk to teens, in advocacy for safe driving behaviors. And if you’re in the business of behavior change, what better advocacy could you have for safe teen driving than peer to peer?

The “Zero Bowl Teen Video Contest” began in November, and the submission deadline was January 6. Zero Fatalities received over 70 video submissions. A panel of judges selected our 5 finalists, including the winning video. All finalists were aired on the day of the Super Bowl, with the winning video being aired during the Super Bowl in the Utah market.

As you’ll see in the finalist ads, like many of the video submissions, a lot of thought and planning went into these safe driving messages. So enjoy watching from #5 to the winning spot:

5th Place – Fayth Melton, Herriman High School

Fayth’s entry probably had the highest production value. Working with Unified Police, SWAT and her local school enforcement officer, her video shows the traumatic consequences of distracted driving. She includes a dramatic arc that starts with an innocent text from her mother to a visit no law enforcement officer wants to make.

4th Place – Isaac Bowen, Corner Canyon High School

Isaac’s spot was the most cinematic, including beautiful views of the western shore of Utah Lake. His creativity is on full display as he transitions from a teen driver out on a drive to his younger brother knocking a toy car off the table as he answers the vibrating phone.

3rd Place – Kyle Ransom, Logan High School

Kyle’s spot is easily the funniest of the finalists. Wouldn’t everyone drive differently if Grandma was riding shotgun? Interestingly, Kyle’s real grandmother is not in the spot. He asked his neighbor to play the role. She nailed it.

2nd Place – Amy Miller, Lone Peak High School

Amy’s video is an outstanding achievement. Well-crafted, well-written and hauntingly shot, Amy educates her viewers on the dangers that not buckling up can pose to not only the unbuckled passenger, but also to others in the car who may be hit by a human projectile. Be sure to stay for the darkly humorous and sober ending as the body bag delivers one last plea to the viewer.

1st Place – Sterling Jones, St. George

Sterling’s message shows the power of peers to influence driving habits, especially when it comes to teens. Despite Mom and Dad’s best efforts, they might get tuned out. But if your best friend is telling you to buckle up, how can you say no? Sterling made great use of music, a GoPro camera, rooftop locations and had the best closing tagline. You’re ready for the advertising business, Sterling!

Utah teens are very talented and creative. It was extremely difficult to narrow down the entries, so visit the Zero Fatalities YouTube channel to see some noteworthy honorable mentions. And leave your comments below, we’d love your thoughts on this campaign.

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Meme (mēm): a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.

If you want to make a meme that’s more compelling for your audience, dig a little deeper and widen your perception of what a “meme” can be. While this format spreads like wildfire, a little variability will go a long way.


When you make a meme, make sure you are keeping up with popular culture and the changing trends. If you can create a video or image that will speak directly to your audience’s personal life and preferences, your message will be better received. For these particular images, I DO prefer to use the classic “meme” format most of the time.


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Come up with a catchy slogan or phrase. I consider myself particularly “punny” (holiday content is my forte), and I will intermittently weave in my humor to even the most serious of pages. In my experience, a bit of comic relief goes a long way in reaching your audience.


Find that perfect image to caption by scrolling through a never-ending feed of photos until your eyes are dry and images of happy drivers and hazy landscapes are forever burned into your brain.


Once you have found the holy grail of iStock images, open it on your favorite phone app or website (my favorites are Font Candy, Adobe Spark Post and Pixlr). Pixlr is essentially a free online version of Photoshop, and is perfect for superimposing seat belts onto Yoda.

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Once you have picked your poison and opened your image, double click that text box and type your Oscar-worthy pun. And theeeeeeeeennnnnn… Tap through different fonts, try out new colors, move around your text box, save 793 different images, open them all up on your computer and narrow it down to your favorite choice. Got all that? Good.

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Happy meme-ing, and may going viral be ever in your favor.


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TeenAccident800Three statistics every Utahn parent should know:

  1. In Utah, a teen driver crash occurs every 48 minutes.
  2. Over 90 percent of teen crashes happen in the first few months of receiving a driver license.
  3. Per mile driven, drivers ages 16-19 are nearly three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers ages 20 and older.

The good news: Involved parents who set rules and monitor their teen’s driving behavior in a supportive way can cut their teen’s crash risk in half. In fact, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, teens whose parents are involved in their driving and training are:


To encourage increased parent involvement, Zero Fatalities partners with high school driver education programs to host Parent Nights. A Parent Night is a one hour evening presentation for driver ed students and their parents, where attendance is mandatory for both student and guardian.  As you can imagine, some parents come grumbling, upset at having to sit in the school auditorium for an hour. However, they sing a different tune when they leave. Recently we received the following feedback from a grateful mother:

“I was at your Zero Fatalities presentation last night at Syracuse High with my daughter and I wanted to say thanks… and tell you what an impact your presentation had on me personally. I can admit I wasn’t looking forward to coming but I’m so grateful I did. I tend to not wear my seat belt and am often distracted in the car. This presentation, particularly the videos and stories you shared, were such an eye-opener for me. Aside from what I personally took away from the evening, as a mom who’s daughter is about to get her license (which scares me)… I’m grateful that you guys take the time to show this to our young kids, to drive home how serious driving is, or ought to be.”

Safe driving requires the effort of everyone on the road. During a Parent Night, presenters review valuable information on Graduated Driver’s License Laws and essential safe driving behavior. Zero Fatalities professional presenters layer in stories, video and statistics to empower parent and teen alike to become better drivers. The goal is to reach zero fatalities on our roadways.

The Parent Night presentation is free and Zero Fatalities is eager to be in every high school in Utah. If you have never attended a parent night, contact your school and request they call Zero Fatalities. For more teen safety information, visit or

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Need an easy way to collect and share data?… Google Drive can help with that, and it’s FREE. Whether you poll coworkers on their tech needs, or provide a client with a tool to promote an important message, Google surveys can be used on various levels and I promise you don’t have to be a computer whiz to succeed.

Still not catching the vision? Let me give a few more scenarios where a quick and easy Google form could make a world of difference:

  • Before a partnering meeting with local community leaders you sent attendees a Google survey asking what they expect to learn or accomplish.
  • After a training session, you send out a Google survey asking attendees what they learned, what they liked and how it could have been better.
  • In preparation to speak at an upcoming conference, you send a Google survey to trusted colleagues asking for advice on the requested topic.
  • Just for fun, you send a Google survey to employees, quizzing them on random pop culture and provide the winners with goofy prizes.
  • Each Christmas you can never remember or guess what your spouse or kids want, so you send out a Google survey.
  • Send a Google form to determine prior knowledge before a staff meeting.

There are hundreds of uses, and if you google “how to use a google form,” you’ll be shocked at all you find. Below is a Google survey the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Department of Public Safety’s program, Zero Fatalities, provided to partners in order to help promote seat belt use in Utah. Give it a read, as it goes step by step through the creation of a Google Form.

*Note: ANYONE can use the following information to create a seat belt pledge, so feel free to copy and paste.

Seat Belt Pledge Google Form

Get your employees/community to pledge to always buckle up, and help those they travel with do the same. Listed below are the steps and information needed to create a Google form seat belt pledge. To view an example of this pledge visit:

*You must have a Gmail account to create a Google Form.

1. Go to your Google Docs home page

2. In the top left corner click on the red “NEW” button

3. Click on “more” and then “Google Forms”


4. Title your Google Form “Seat Belt Pledge” or “[Organization Name]’s Seat Belt Pledge”.

5. In the description, beneath the title, feel free to copy and paste the following information:

Until we have perfect people, even the safest drivers are vulnerable to the poor decisions of others. We may not be able to engineer around stupid, but you can protect yourself from those who are. The single most important thing you can do to prevent death or injury on the road: Buckle up.

If you don’t buckle up, please reconsider. If you do buckle up, have a conversation with the people you care about; help them understand that buckling up doesn’t mean, “giving in to The Man” – it means choosing to live, choosing to be around for weddings, birthdays, vacations, promotions and grandchildren. If you truly care about the people around you, you will advocate for seat belt use everywhere you drive, every time. Seventeen percent of our population drives unbuckled and contributes to nearly HALF of our roadway fatalities. These non-seatbelt users comprise of fathers/mothers, brothers/sisters, friends and grandparents. A primary seat belt law is a BIG step in the right direction, but no one will get an unbuckled someone to buckle up better than those they love.

If you know someone who drives unbuckled please help them understand the facts.

  • Three out of four people ejected from their vehicle die from their injuries.
  • Wearing a seat belt keeps the driver in the driver seat, significantly helping the driver maintain control of the vehicle.
  • Unbuckled passengers increase the risk of killing or injuring other belted passengers by 40 percent.

But most importantly, help them understand they should buckle up because you love and care for them.

For more information, visit and the Zero Fatalities Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

6. Then add question number one:


a. Copy question: Do you pledge to always buckle up?

b. Make sure you check the box at the end that says “required question”

7. Click on “Add Item” to add the second question:


a. Copy question:

i. When you travel, do you pledge to make sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up?

ii. Remember unbuckled passengers increase the risk of killing or injuring other belted passengers by 40 percent.

b. Again, make sure you check the box at the end that says “required question”.

8. To view the form click on “view” and “view form”

9. To send the form to employees click on “send form” in the top right corner and copy the URL provided

10. To monitor submitted pledges click on “responses” and “view responses”

Like most Google Docs, the Google Form is made to be comprehensive and easy for any one. However, just Google “How to create a Google Form” and you’ll soon realize there’s much more you can learn than the basics. So start here and enjoy.

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TV, print, online, PR, face-to-face communication efforts – these are all great ways to promote your product, service or cause. However, you will have so much more of an impact when you combine them all together into an integrated communication campaign.

Take the Zero Fatalities texting while driving message as an example. I saw a news story in March of 2009 about a young man in northern Utah who had been convicted of killing two men because he was texting while driving. The news story said that part of his sentencing was to prepare a video talking about the dangers of texting while driving. I asked our client at UDOT if they would consider creating the video under the Zero Fatalities program. That was the birth of a far-reaching integrated communication campaign.

Reggie Shaw’s choice to text while driving led to a tragedy that devastated the lives of so many people. However, the way he allowed us to tell his story has positively affected even more. We put together an integrated communication strategy that would touch as many teen and adult drivers in Utah. The results of that effort reached far more people than we ever anticipated.

On September 22, 2006,19-year-old Reggie Shaw veered into oncoming traffic while he was texting while driving. This caused a chain reaction, leading to the deaths of two men. Shortly after Reggie was sentenced in 2009, Penna Powers was allowed to work with him and the widows of the men he killed to educate the public on the dangers of texting while driving as part of the Utah Department of Transportation’s Zero Fatalities program.

At that point, very little information was available about texting while driving. It did not have the awareness and stigma attached to it as it does today. Our goal was to share this tragic tale with as many people as possible.

We started with a 15-minute video about the victims, the widows and the consequences of that crash. Within four months of launching the video on, it was downloaded more than 1.2 million times.


Public Relations
We launched the video with a press event where Reggie spoke to the media and the family members of the men he killed. While the video was created for a Utah audience, national media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, NPR, Dr. Oz and the Oprah Winfrey Show referenced the video, interviewed Zero Fatalities representatives or profiled Shaw’s story.


Grassroots Outreach
We contacted every driver ed teacher in Utah, giving them a copy of the video. Dozens of high schools asked Zero Fatalities representatives and Reggie to speak at assemblies. One unique assembly at Skyline High School had every classroom watch the 15-minute video at the end of their first class. Each classroom had parents, student leaders and Zero Fatalities representatives openly discuss the dangers of texting while driving. Tearful students, parents and teachers often hugged Reggie afterward, thanking him for sharing such a difficult experience.


TV Advertising
We created a 30-second TV PSA featuring scenes from the 15-minute video. This tactic was meant to draw viewers in and lead them to, where they could see the video and learn the whole story. A comprehensive media buy facilitated reaching the largest audience possible across Utah.

Digital Advertising
Contracts with digital media partners allowed us to run pre-roll videos before rich media content like TV news segments and other videos. This was especially relevant when stations ran news segments about road construction, traffic or crashes.

Speaking Engagements
Reggie became a highly sought after speaker. His remorseful, genuine demeanor made audiences empathize with him, leaving them with a powerful, memorable account of what can happen when they text and drive. Reggie’s national appearances included speaking on the Oprah Winfrey Show and at the first national distracted driving summit held by the federal government.


Other Exposure
Reggie’s story has been so compelling that others are determined to share this tragic voice of warning. In 2013, acclaimed director Werner Herzog produced a documentary called, “From One Second to the Next,” as part of AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign. This 35-minute documentary has been viewed more than three million times.

In September this year, Matt Richtel, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter for The New York Times gives a thorough analysis of Reggie’s emotional story in a new book called, A Deadly Wandering. The book was named one of’s top 20 books of the year.


The 15-minute video became the centerpiece of this integrated communication plan. Had it been the only tool we used, we could have never generated the level of exposure and education it garnered. So many other tools allowed us to tell this tragic tale to as many people as possible. As a result, Reggie Shaw has become what The New York Times deemed one of the nation’s most powerful spokesmen on the dangers of texting while behind the wheel. Our hearts go out to those impacted by this tragedy, but we thank them for allowing us to share their story in such a public, saturating way.

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Contributed by Lora Stead

Another Don’t Drive Stupid Video and Poster Contest went down, and another group of talented teens came forth. A special thanks to the Utah Department of Transportation who makes cool opportunities like this possible.

Video Winners

First place: Mickey R. and Matthew M. – Viewmont High School
(Watch for this video playing in the pre-movie trailers at Megaplex Theaters through February.)

Second place: Shimmer P. – Viewmont High School

Third place: Matthew S. – Panguitch High School

Poster Winners

First place
Hannah M. – Olympus High School


Jonathan A. – Mountain Crest High School


Maddison A. – Mountain Crest High School


Mayson A. – Mountain Crest High School


Kaylee B. – Mountain Crest High School


Lexi C. – Olympus High School


Ana D. – Mountain Crest High School


Megan J. – Olympus High School


Haley P. – Mountain Crest High School


Taylor R. – Mountain Crest High School


Anika V.- Olympus High School


Aleisha W. – Snow Canyon High School


Visit to see the winning entries from previous years.


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Buckle Up this Thanksgiving

Contributed by Lora Stead

The Thanksgiving holiday offers a delightful tradition of remembering all we have to be grateful for. My list includes chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, Bikram Yoga, mountains, a sweet husband and seat belts. As the holiday season approaches and roads get slick, we can’t afford to skip out on seat belts. Though more people buckle up than not, I have heard many turkey excuses from those who don’t:

• I forget
• I’m only going down the street
• I’m with a safe driver
• The seat belt wrinkles my clothes
• It’s not big enough for me
• I’m not going very fast
• My car doesn’t have seat belts
• I would rather die than be seriously injured
• I don’t like someone telling me I have to wear it
• I don’t want to be trapped in a car
• It’s uncomfortable
• It’s safer not to have it on
• Nothing’s ever going to happen to me

Here’s the truth:

You are 70 percent more likely to survive a crash and be uninjured when properly buckled. Would you be concerned if your spouse, child or best friend took that risk? So why would you?

There is no excuse for not buckling up. Don’t be a turkey this Thanksgiving and buckle up, every time, every drive.

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